Homer's Travels: Book: Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar's "This Is How You Lose The Time War"

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Book: Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar's "This Is How You Lose The Time War"

The seventh book of the year for me is an interesting take on time travel.  I personally don't believe time travel into the past is possible but I have to admit that time traveling stories are often interesting with a lot of flexibility on how the story is told.

Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar's "This is How You Lose the Time War" is less about time travel than it is about the relationship that develops between two time soldiers.  The world constructed by this book involves two factions: The Agency - their goal is to build and maintain a post-singularity techno paradise - and the Garden - A communal superconscious building and maintaining a universal harmonious hive mind.  The book follows two soldiers, one from the Agency and one from Garden, who move through time making small (and sometimes not so small) changes to the timelines to achieve their respective goals.  

Throughout the timeline the soldiers exchange secret messages encoded over centuries and millennia.  At first you are not sure why the messages are exchanged.  Is one soldier trying to recruit the other?  Are they just curious about their opponent?  In time the messages become more intimate as the exchanges go from curious, to friendly, to amorous.   When the Agency and Garden discover the interaction between the soldiers (but not the content of the actual messages) they plan to use it as a weapon in the time war.

I found this book to be very interesting as it was so different from most of the books I've read before.  It came close to being a romance novel but in a way that didn't bother me too much.

I gave this book four stars out of five on Goodreads.  It was entertaining and felt fresh to me.

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